In this project, you will refresh your understanding of the research process and the steps to plan a research strategy, an important element of information literacy. Take a few minutes to watch this video “What is Information Literacy?” In this project, you’ll determine what information you need, develop a search strategy to find that information, and evaluate it to determine if it fits your needs. You’ll use the information wisely and ethically to build your research paper. 

Turn Research Into Compelling Graduate-Level Analysis

After reviewing the many sources available to you, you will choose those that are relevant, timely, and helpful to your understanding of the issues of your industry or field of study. This should enable you to refine your search terms to find resources that will help you identify the top trends in your industry. A trend could be something well-known in the industry, a new development, or something you consider unrecognized or disputed.  It is recommended that you choose the industry or subject area of your graduate program, so that your research will prepare you for your program of study.  

Your research will provide evidence for your conclusions about the trends you choose, and your initial choices may change as you read more deeply. Review resources in periodicals, journals, newspapers, industry blogs, and other websites to choose the best references to inform your choice of trends. Use industry-specific keywords and take notes on your reading because you will be building on this research for the next phase in which you will choose an issue of interest (it could be within one of the three top trends or it could be new) and conduct deeper research. 

In the scenario, your research paper is intended to prepare the search committee members to interview candidates by informing them about the emerging, contemporary trends and issues in your field or industry. If your committee is well-prepared to interview candidates rigorously, your organization will be poised to choose the best person for the job. Good luck!    

Tip: As you find resources that you expect to use in your project, you should capture the information for the reference citations, which will go on your References page.  You can begin building your References page in the project template. If you are rusty on formatting reference citations, use the APA 7 citation examples to get the order of things right.

This project will prepare you for more complex research projects. You will refine your ability to find and evaluate information. Using appropriate citing skills, you will produce a paper that demonstrates well-reasoned, well-supported analysis. There are four steps that will lead you through this project. Begin by watching the video above, which introduces the fictional scenario that provides the framework for this project. Then continue to Step 1 to start your research. 

First, review this summary of the project and open the template that you will use for this project. The summary provides instructions and the timeline to submit your draft (at the end of Week 2) and your final paper (at the end of Week 3). The template is the “roadmap” for your paper and will guide you through the requirements to be successful.

In this step, you will start with a plan to find the information you need. This should enable you to create a search strategy to find resources that will help you identify the top trends in your industry. Once you have identified the top trends, you will choose an issue in one of the three top trends and conduct more research to provide an analysis of the issue, its effect on the industry, and how an organization would address this issue—whether to avoid or make use of it—to its own advantage.

A trend could be something well-known in the industry, a new development, or something you consider unrecognized or disputed. You will conduct research for trends to complete the first part of your project. Review resources that you find in periodicals, journals, newspapers, industry blogs, and other websites speciifc to the industry or area of study to find the best references to inform your choice of trends. Use industry-specific keywords, and take notes on your reading because you will be building on this research in the next step as you choose an issue within one of the trends.

Searching for relevant and timely sources and gathering citation details may take up to three hours. Remember that not all information that you find will be useful. It is important to evaluate resources that you find.   

Once you decide what resources you will use to support your paper, be sure that you provide complete citations in APA format on a References page. For help, see the APA formatting resources in the UMGC Library Citing and Writing Portal. Be diligent in your choices about the resources you choose. Here is an eight-minute video that will help you set up your References page in APA style. Check out some common examples of APA citations also available in the library.

After you have identified the top three trends in your industry, draft the first part of your paper using the project template. You will complete the cover sheet, write the introductory section, flesh out the headings for the rest of the paper, and add complete reference citiations for your resources on the References page. Submit your draft for review by the end of Week 2 and move on to the next step to investigate a specific issue.

In the previous two steps, you performed research, first to identify industry trends, and then for information about an issue in one of those trends that you consider to be important to your industry. Now it is time to draft your complete paper.

This would be a good time to review information on organization in writing and paragraphs. You might also want to check out the Effective Writing Center’s Online Guide to Writing, a valuable reference for improving your writing.

Your research paper should accomplish two objectives:

  • Identify the three top trends in your industry and your rationale for your choices, based on the resources you found.
  • Discuss the issue within one of the trends (or from the field of study) that you deem important, based on the current state of the industry. You will present your analysis of facts and a well-reasoned conclusion of how this issue affects the industry.

Your paper will be five to seven pages, not including your cover page and References page(s), double-spaced and set up in APA standard formatting. It does not require an abstract.

Start with an outline and flesh out the main themes with supporting statements. This will become your roadmap to an organized paper. We recommend that you consider the primary components to writing effectively at any level. Draft, sleep on it, and edit. Consider this advice on editing and revising your work. This explanation on how you can move from general to specific writing may also be helpful.  

Refer to References and Citations to ensure that you are using in-text citations to give credit for others’ ideas and to build your credibility as a researcher, neither ignoring sources nor quoting excessively. Your citations, both in-text and on the References page, should follow the APA citing and referencing resources in the UMGC Library Citing and Writing Portal. Use the left navigation menu to find additional information and examples.

After your complete paper is drafted and your citations are correct, read your paper out loud to catch any extra or missing words and to make sure that it makes sense. Better yet, ask a friend to read it; if someone has questions about what you mean, it’s likely that others will as well.

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